WWE News: Vince McMahon conference call coverage - The Rock to appear on multiple PPVs, new WWE TV show likely to air before Raw


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WWE News: Vince McMahon conference call coverage - The Rock to appear on multiple PPVs, new WWE TV show likely to air before Raw
Aug 4, 2011 - 10:00 AM


Vince McMahon hosted a conference call pertaining to the second quarter financial report that was released on August 4. The following are the highlights of the call.

-Michael Weitz, head of investor relations, kicked off the conference call by reading through some of the basics of the quarterly report and the legalities.

-Vince McMahon acknowledged that business was essentially flat if you exclude WrestleMania 27's impact. However, he said they are proud of that.

-Vince said they intend to roll out additional programming. He said they may roll out a one-hour show that would air prior to Monday Night Raw. He didn't make it sound like it was a done deal, though.

-Vince spoke about the WWE rivalry series on DVD. He mentioned Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, and he said he thinks the series has the potential to be popular with fans.

-Live events revenue is down three percent. He said the fact that it dropped substantially last year makes the minimal decline

-Vince said the Money in the Bank pay-per-view appears to be up 20 percent compared to last year, and touted the fact that they appear to be bouncing back in the pay-per-view category overall.

-Vince touted the fact that the movie "That's What I Am" was an award winner, but said that made it tough to eat the $3 million hit the movie took. He said it was a good movie that doesn't necessarily appeal to the WWE audience. Vince also touted the fact that the company has come in on budget or even below budget projections with their movie projects.

-Vince said they intend to roll out the WWE Network. He said they have meetings coming up this week regarding the project. "We think that's going to be a significant bottom line number to us going forward," McMahon said. He spoke more about the new live show that they intend to launch prior to Raw and said it doesn't necessarily apply to the WWE Network.

-WWE CFO George Barrios ran through the financial presentation. Among the key notes from the report is that WWE Raw TV ratings increased by three percent compared to the same quarter last year. Pay-per-view domestic buys declined by nine percent for non-WrestleMania events. However, it was mostly offset by the increased sales overseas. Home video and magazine sales continued to decline.

-The WWE 12 video game is slated to be released in November.

-Barrios said the company intends to invest another $10 million to $15 million into their movie studio division. He said they are not happy with the recent returns, but they believe its wise to remain in the movie business and its upside.

-They opened up the phone lines for callers.

-The first caller brought up the nice bump they received from The Rock appearing and asked how much he'll be involved. Vince said he will appear at multiple pay-per-view events beyond WrestleMania 28.

-Vince was asked about UFC launching it's own network and whether that concerns him. Vince delivered the usual line about them being in two different industries, and stressed that WWE is in the entertainment industry.

-Vince said the company has been sitting on the rights to the WWE Superstars and NXT television shows. He once again stressed the new show that would air as a lead-in for WWE and the potential it has to bring in additional revenue.

-Vince touted the success off the WrestleMania 28 travel packages. He said it sold out in two days. He said it's a strong indication of the demand for WrestleMania, and noted that sometimes they don't sell out and other times it takes months.

-A caller asked whether there is a risk of WWE having trouble overseas due to international promoters not making as much as they hoped they would. Barrios said most of their overseas tours mimic the domestic approach. He said there are some cases where they take a flat fee from a promoter until they establish themselves in a market. He said they are not concerned with it and touted the success of the Latin America tour.

-A caller asked if the company would consider going private again or selling controlling interest. "No," Vince quickly responded.

-Vince said they have something of a new slant regarding their current creative. He and the other company officials touted success of the new talent initiative at various times.

-Barrios said he believes something will happen in the third or four quarter regarding programming such as WWE Superstars and NXT.

-Vince was asked about meeting with UFC president Dana White. He was asked whether he would consider partnering with UFC on a network. "Absolutely not," Vince said regarding the partnership. "There was a meeting, and quite frankly, it was more social than anything else."

-Michael Weitz wrapped up the conference call once they ran out of questions.

Powell's POV: There wasn't a single question about Triple H replacing Vince McMahon as the storyline leader of the company or his behind the scenes role. The new television show could mean three hours of WWE programming on Monday nights. It doesn't sound like it will be a three-hour Raw, but rather some type of a lead-in for the flagship show. It could be fun for the diehard fans, but one has to worry about the company giving away too much programming on Monday nights (see the three-hour WCW Nitro switch).

Obviously, The Rock appearing at multiple pay-per-views is great news for the company. He'll be at Survivor Series and WrestleMania, and it sounds like he will appear at additional pay-per-view events leading up to WrestleMania, but they did not specify how many shows he'll appear on. Chris Shore and I will be discussing the financial report and Vince McMahon's comments in this conference call later today during the member exclusive Dot Net Weekly audio show. Join us on the ad-free version of the site by signing up now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.

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